BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday declined to quash the criminal proceedings against former Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao. He is an accused in the corruption and extortion scam within the anti-corruption body, Lokayukta.
Justice Anand Byrareddy pronounced the judgment declining to quash the proceedings pending against Rao. The judgment has come as a major setback for the 78-year-old Rao, who was also the former chief justice of Karnataka High Court.
Justice Rao has challenged the supplementary charge sheet filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) before the Lokayukta special court arraigning him as accused number 7. His son Ashwin Y is also an accused in the case.
After marathon arguments, Justice Byrareddy had reserved the verdict regarding the criminal petition filed by Justice Rao.
Rao is the first Lokayukta to face criminal charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act. He is arraigned as the seventh accused in the charge sheet, running into 560 pages.
According to the charge sheet filed on him on Wednesday, Bhaskar Rao was in the know-how of the extortion racket operated from his office by his son Y Ashwin
SIT headed by the additional director-general of Police Kamal Pant found prima facie evidence of Rao's involvement in the scam that rocked the State in 2015.
Superintendent of police Labhu Ram submitted the additional charge sheet to a FIR registered under Crime No 56/2015 by then superintendent of police Sonia Narang, Bengaluru Division, Lokayukta.
The case was registered on the basis of a verbal statement by M N Krishna Murthy, then executive engineer of the Zilla Panchayath, Bengaluru Rural, who was allegedly subjected to extortion by the accused.
The other six accused are former Lokayukta PRO Syed Riyaz, Bhaskar Rao's son Y Ashwin Yerabati, V Bhaskar, realtor Ashok Kumar, journalist M B Srinivasa Gowda and RTI activist Shankaregowda.
Rao was booked under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act as well as the IPC. The charges against him relate to a public servant taking bribes, showing favours, and abetting offences. He is also charged with criminal conspiracy and causing the disappearance of evidence.
Taking cognisance, the special court had issued summons to Rao. However, Rao approached the High Court and the governor Vajubhai Vala gave the go-ahead for the prosecution of Rao after five months.